Taking It Home
When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. — John Muir
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
The children heard a true story about unexpected consequences after scientists sprayed DDT in Borneo to get rid of mosquitoes. A chain of subsequent events led to an overpopulation of rats, which was solved by parachuting 20 cats into Borneo. We talked about the importance of balance in nature and made "Live in Balance" posters.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. TALK ABOUT...
Ask your child to tell you about the story and what happened. Talk about the ecosystem your city, town or country location is part of. Discuss the wildlife and plants in your area and the interconnections that exist.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. TRY...
A FAMILY RITUAL
Create a family ritual of going for a night hike whenever there is a full moon. Walk quietly and listen for the night sounds. Note the differences in plant and animal life based on the seasons. When you have returned home, have each person light a candle and name something they appreciate about nature or something they noticed or learned on the hike. Close the ritual with lemonade in the summer, hot chocolate in the winter, mulled apple cider in the fall or another seasonal treat.
A FAMILY GAME
Create an ecological balance version of the traditional game "rock, paper, scissors." In this game, each person secretly decides to be "rock," "paper" or "scissors." Participants count to three with one hand behind their backs. On "three," they pull their hands out front and use their hands to indicate which things they've chosen. A rock is shown by making a fist, paper is a flat hand, and scissors are made in a cutting motion using the index and middle fingers. Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock. Make up your own version using natural food chain relationships. For example: frogs eat mosquitoes, mosquitoes bite humans, and humans eat frogs. Make up hand gestures for each creature you include. Be creative and don't feel constrained by the number three. If you like, add multiple plants or creatures to your game and think about the ways they are interdependent.
Study the problem of global warming with your family. Your library and the internet will have multiple resources. You can also check out the website of Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth , an affiliate organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Ask a local energy company to do an audit of your home's energy usage and create a plan for more efficient energy use. Create a family plan to reduce your family's carbon emissions and help stop global warming.
You may like to find out about local nature or ecological organizations in your area. These may have visitor centers, family programs or volunteer opportunities for young school-age children.
Visit a local conservation area and talk to rangers or other workers about local conservation needs. Learn about ways you can help keep the balance in your ecosystem. Possibilities might include planting bushes or flowers that are helpful to insects or birds, reducing your household waste and increasing your recycling efforts, or volunteering with a local environmental group.